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This updated, mobile-ready PhET simulation provides an array of tools for analyzing energy transformation in a pendulum system. Watch the pendulum swing as an ideal system or add friction and see it gradually slow down. Change the mass and length of the string to see how these variables affect the motion. Jump to Jupiter or the Moon to see how different gravitational situations affect the swing of the pendulum. Included is a "photogate" timer to quickly and accurately find the period of the pendulum. Bar graphs of kinetic, potential, and thermal energy can be displayed as the simulation runs.  

This item is part of a growing collection of resources developed by the Physics Education Technology project. Registered PhET users also have access to Power Point presentations, student guides, teaching tips, and other teacher-contributed materials developed to support each simulation.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Gravity
- Work and Energy
= Conservation of Energy
Oscillations & Waves
- Oscillations
= Pendula
= Simple Harmonic Motion
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Middle School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- application/java
- text/html
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2016 University of Colorado, Physics Education Technology
Additional information is available.
amplitude, oscillation, pendulum, periodic motion, simulation
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 27, 2008 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
December 28, 2018 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
July 21, 2016
Other Collections:

Next Generation Science Standards

Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions (HS-PS2)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
  • Analyze data to support the claim that Newton's second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration. (HS-PS2-1)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (6-8)
  • Newton's second law accurately predicts changes in the motion of macroscopic objects. (9-12)
Definitions of Energy (PS3.A)
  • Motion energy is properly called kinetic energy; it is proportional to the mass of the moving object and grows with the square of its speed. (6-8)
  • A system of objects may also contain stored (potential) energy, depending on their relative positions. (6-8)
  • Energy is a quantitative property of a system that depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within that system. That there is a single quantity called energy is due to the fact that a system's total energy is conserved, even as, within the system, energy is continually transferred from one object to another and between its various possible forms. (9-12)
Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (PS3.B)
  • When the motion energy of an object changes, there is inevitably some other change in energy at the same time. (6-8)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Patterns (K-12)
  • Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships. (6-8)
Cause and Effect (K-12)
  • Systems can be designed to cause a desired effect. (9-12)
Systems and System Models (K-12)
  • Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy and matter flows within systems. (6-8)
  • When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models. (9-12)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
  • Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion). (6-8)
  • The total amount of energy and matter in closed systems is conserved. (9-12)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Developing and Using Models (K-12)
  • Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)
    • Develop and use a model to describe phenomena. (6-8)
  • Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
    • Use a model to provide mechanistic accounts of phenomena. (9-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
  • Mathematical and computational thinking at the 6–8 level builds on K–5 and progresses to identifying patterns in large data sets and using mathematical concepts to support explanations and arguments. (6-8)
    • Use mathematical representations to describe and/or support scientific conclusions and design solutions. (6-8)
  • Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
    • Use mathematical representations of phenomena to describe explanations. (9-12)
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Record Link
AIP Format
(PhET, Boulder, 2016), WWW Document, (
PhET Simulation: Pendulum Lab, (PhET, Boulder, 2016), <>.
APA Format
PhET Simulation: Pendulum Lab. (2016, July 21). Retrieved June 26, 2019, from PhET:
Chicago Format
PhET. PhET Simulation: Pendulum Lab. Boulder: PhET, July 21, 2016. (accessed 26 June 2019).
MLA Format
PhET Simulation: Pendulum Lab. Boulder: PhET, 2016. 21 July 2016. 26 June 2019 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PhET Simulation: Pendulum Lab}, Publisher = {PhET}, Volume = {2019}, Number = {26 June 2019}, Month = {July 21, 2016}, Year = {2016} }
Refer Export Format

%T PhET Simulation: Pendulum Lab
%D July 21, 2016
%C Boulder
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D July 21, 2016
%T PhET Simulation: Pendulum Lab
%V 2019
%N 26 June 2019
%8 July 21, 2016
%9 application/java

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

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PhET Simulation: Pendulum Lab:

Is Supplemented By

This is the teacher's guide created by the PhET team specifically to supplement The Pendulum Lab.

relation by Caroline Hall

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